He’s got reliable sources and all that.
Brian Stelter rushed to Twitter last night to accuse a conservative writer of spreading false information about a church being burned. The church is near the White House and was shown to be on fire via Fox News, whose camera crew actually walked down to the basement level to record the blaze. The fact that Fox News was involved is probably what set Stelter off.
Here’s the exchange.
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) June 1, 2020
Perhaps people who don’t know what they are talking about shouldn’t speak with such confidence? In reality, the church was indeed on fire. The flames were whipping up in the basement, which is why you couldn’t see them on the aerial view. Instead of actually taking a moment to look at the Fox News clip, which was already being widely spread on Twitter, Stelter just proclaims that her tweet is false.
Accuses me of either lying or being too dumb to communicate what I’m seeing on live TV, then deletes it pic.twitter.com/A8tCQ5JOdT
— Katrina B Haydon (@katrinabhaydon) June 1, 2020
Getting it wrong isn’t really that big of an issue. But if you are going to snarkily accuse someone of lying or being an idiot, perhaps be sure of what you are saying? We’ve all made mistakes on Twitter, but the lack of propensity for Stelter to call out mistakes from his own side, especially from his own network, doesn’t earn him much benefit of the doubt.
Of course, Stelter’s motivation here likely wasn’t to get it right. If it were, there were a million other things to go fact-check last night. Rather, this shows as a knee jerk tendency to rush and defend those who are rioting. CNN’s coverage has been disgraceful to this point, with numerous people being brought on to excuse the violence while anchors like Don Lemon melt down on air at the mere suggestion that what’s happening is wrong. Everything is Trump’s fault, because of course it is.
Stelter did finally deliver an apology after several hours last night.
I deleted my tweets because I fell victim to the worst foolish impulses of this website. I'm sorry for criticizing your tweets. I'm also sorry if anyone uses this brief exchange to distract from what really matters — the protesters, the police, the church.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 1, 2020
I guess falling to his worst impulses makes sense. Maybe next time just watch the video Fox News was providing though? That would have been a lot easier and saved him the trouble. Haydon had told him the source for her information.
Regardless, it’s fairly ironic that a person who predicates himself on being a media watchdog made this kind of mistake and attempted to play it off with a stealth deletion until called out.